The keto diet plan has been proven to be quite effective for weight loss when done properly. However, sometimes, you may start this program and not see your desired results. Of course, factors such as consistency and food discipline highly influence the attainment of these goals. However, another factor that you should consider is if you are eating enough fat.
You may think that limiting the fat you eat has no effect on your body functioning or health. However, this is not the case. When you do not eat enough foods with high fat content, chances are you will not get enough calories to sustain your bodily functions. Consequently, your body processes such as your metabolism begins to slow down. Similarly, you miss out on the benefits of eating healthy fats. Read on to determine what happens if you don’t eat enough fat on a keto diet.
Analyzing The Building Blocks Of The Keto Diet
The keto diet plan consists of foods with low carbohydrates but high protein and fat content (3). The low carbohydrate content makes your body reach the ketosis state. Ketosis occurs when your body lacks enough carbohydrates, so it starts to break down stored fat.
The breakdown produces energy for your body’s functions. In the process, you get to burn calories and shed extra fat. The diet plan is quite intense, which makes it mandatory to seek medical advice before trying out this meal plan.
If you are diabetic, make sure you also talk to your doctor or dietitian. Otherwise, you increase the risk of health conditions.
When you start this program, you are likely to start seeing the results after three or four days. It is because you are consuming less than 50 g of carbs daily, making your body burn stored fat.
Some of the best high-fat low-carb foods you can consider for your low-carb high-fat diet (LCHF) include (6):
- Brussels sprouts
- Dark leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Chia, flax, sesame and sunflower seeds
- Nuts such as cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts
Is Eating Fats Recommended While On A Keto Diet?
There are so many myths about the keto diet. You might have heard various misconceptions about what you can and cannot eat while on such a diet plan. Perhaps you have heard or come across debates about fat and carb consumption on keto. Carbs are considered enemy number one in weight loss. Therefore, most people believe they are not to be included in a keto diet plan. The truth of the matter is that you can include both carbs and fats in your keto meal plan. However, you will have to watch the ratios.
Roughly 55 to 60% of your daily calories should come from fats when on a keto diet (2). Let us distinguish between healthy and unhealthy fats you need to eat while on a keto diet plan.
What Happens If You Don’t Eat Enough Fat On Keto: Healthy Fats To Eat On A Keto Diet
Experts acknowledge that the healthiest fats to consume while on keto are the polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats. These fats are liquid at room temperature. However, when chilled, they will harden. You can acquire unsaturated fats from foods such as:
- Olives and olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Safflower oil
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Nuts, for example, Brazil nuts, macadamias, walnuts and almonds
- Seeds like the pumpkin and flax seeds
- Peanut oil and butter
- Oily fish such as tuna and anchovies
- Canola oil
These high-fat keto foods are good for your health for several reasons. They include:
- Lowering your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level- this is the bad cholesterol in your body. Too much of it increases your risk of acquiring either strokes or cardiovascular diseases (1).
- Developing and maintaining your cells.
What Happens If You Don’t Eat Enough Fat On Keto: Fats To Avoid On The Keto Diet
If you are on a keto diet, then you need to stay away from trans and saturated fats. These two are considered unhealthy as they increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases and other health complications.
You are recommended to consume at maximum 5-6% of calories from foods containing saturated fats. It amounts to 11 to 13 g of saturated fat if you consume 2, 000 calories daily. Do not exceed this limit without seeking medical advice. It could increase your risk of health complications, including heart diseases.
Trans fats have been banned as experts argue they contain no health benefits (8). You can get trans fats from foods such as:
- Fried foods
- Cookies, crackers, frozen pies, cakes and other baked goods
- Coffee creamers
- Ready-to-use frosting
- Refrigerated dough products like cinnamon rolls and biscuits
- Smacks like microwave popcorn
- Vegetable shortenings and some stick margarine
- Frozen pizzas
To avoid buying food products with trans or saturated fats, do the following:
- Research on what foods contain traces of these fats. You can also double-check these foods with your dietitian.
- Check the nutritional information of the products you are purchasing. If you are eating in a restaurant, double-check the food posters of the food you are ordering.
What Happens If You Don’t Eat Enough Fat On Keto
You might have thought that consuming foods with high-fat content when trying to lose weight is a no-go. However, this is not always the case. Especially when the keto diet is being discussed. Fat increases satiety (7). When your satiety levels are high, you eat and snack less, which helps you regulate your appetite and food intake. However, if you take too much fat, it will get stored in your body. So, make sure you maintain a balance.
The consequence of not getting enough fat is increased hunger and appetite. Consequently, you tend to eat more, resulting in an increased caloric intake. Similarly, your body misses out on the nutritional benefits of healthy fats.
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What Happens If You Don’t Eat Enough Fat On Keto: Tips On How To Get Enough Fat While On Keto
There are several ways you can consider to boost your fat intake while on a keto diet. They include:
Eating Fat Bombs
Fat bombs refer to snacks that have high fat and low carb content. They are quite delicious and effective as they do not compromise your keto results. However, ensure you consult with your doctor or dietitian before adding them to your meal plan.
Adding Fat To Your Hot Beverages
Besides eating snacks with high fat content, you can also add fat to your hot beverages. They could range from hot chocolate to matcha, coffee or green tea. You can start by adding whipped cream to your beverages.
Eating More Vegetables
You can also prepare various salad dressings using unsaturated fats such as avocado or olive oil (5). Preparing salad dressings will help you eat more vegetables as well as bump up your healthy fat intake.
Eating Oily Fish
You can also increase your fat intake by consuming fatty fish. However, not any fish but those containing monounsaturated fats. The healthiest options are tuna and salmon.
Snacking On Nuts
When it comes to keto, nuts are somewhat in a grey zone since there are a bunch of types of nuts that are heavy on carbs. Make sure you snack on the ones that pack a hefty fat punch. Remember to go easy on them, so you don’t go over your calorie limit for the day.
Cooking with Healthy Fats
You can also boost your fat intake by using healthy fats to prepare your meals. These include fats such as olive and sunflower oil. Remember to also watch how much you use as well as your cooking method.
The Bottom Line
The keto diet can undoubtedly help you lose those extra pounds. Nonetheless, some diet mistakes you make along the way can jeopardize your success. One of them is not paying attention to how much as well as what type of fats you eat.
You are supposed to eat healthy fats and regulate their portion sizes and ratios. Too much can lead to weight gain while too little can lead to increased hunger and appetite.
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All the views expressed in this article are meant for educational purposes. Ensure you speak to your dietitian before executing any of our suggestions.
Reviewed by: Soraya Ziou
- Facts about monounsaturated fats (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- Healthful fats for keto and how to use them (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Ketosis (2020, webmd.com)
- Slideshow: Healthy-Fat Foods (2020, webmd.com)
- What are the most healthful high-fat foods? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about low-carb, high-fat diets (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- When Your Healthy Diet Isn’t So Healthy (2010, webmd.com)
- Where Are Trans Fats Now? (2020, webmd.com)